‘Maze’ will teach teens about good choices

Published 6:29 pm Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The journey of life is like a maze, with various twists and turns and points where citizens can make different choices. This week, Bainbridge Middle School seventh and eighth graders will get the chance to learn about consequences of their decisions, as they participate in the third annual Teen Maze, which is organized through Decatur County Family Connection.
The Teen Maze is a life-size labyrinth constructed of PVC pipes and curtains, set up in such a way that the young people will be able to “travel” through the maze and experience different episodes in their life — such as deciding whether to drink at a party, whether to have sex on a date, or whether to drive recklessly. Based on randomly-selected choices that set up their next “move,” the teens will ultimately learn how choices can have consequences, which may be as innocent as spending a night in jail or as severe as death.
Allison Harrell, the chairperson of Family Connection, said the event is always popular among the BMS students.
“It’s a really fun event for Family Connection to help put on each year, and the kids really seem to enjoy it and remember it for a long time,” she said.
Harrell said Home Depot generously provides the supplies to build the maze, and also assists in its construction. The maze will be built Wednesday, Oct. 19, and be open to the public at 6 p.m., at the Decatur County Memorial Coliseum on Wheat Avenue, next to BMS.
No children below seventh grade will be allowed to go through the maze.
The BMS students will then travel through the maze on Thursday and Friday, from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and then from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Harrell said approximately 800 students will participate this year, and they will enter the maze in groups of 25-30.
Each decision during the maze also includes information sessions on topics such as abstinence, peer pressure, safe sex, teen parenting, sexually transmitted diseases and drugs, to name a few. Not all choices in the maze are “bad,” however. Harrell said the ultimate goal is for the students to complete the maze by attending “graduation,” complete with a faux cap-and-gown ceremony and real cake.
Once the students have gone through the maze, they then will have the chance to sit down with an adult and talk about their experience.
“That’s probably the key part — the evaluation piece,” Harrell said. “We can really talk to them about making healthy choices and good decisions, in their lives.”
Harrell estimated that more than 40 volunteers are needed each day to make the maze a success. If interested in volunteering, email her at arharrell@dcboe.com with the date and times available to help.

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